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InstaPaper or Readitlater for iPad ?

InstaPaper or Readitlater for iPad ?

They say the success of the MacDonalds was simply keeping choice to a minimum. Like twitter clients my favourite bookmarking for offline reading preferences flit on a weekly basis. Today sees the launch of the Readitlater application for iPad leaving me in a quandary on which service I want to use long term.

The Readitlater application for iPad is really well though out although the pricing is a little confusing. I first purchased the pro version to be met with an in-app purchase to unlock the digest mode which had been the key attraction to the pro version in the first place.

That said the extra few pounds makes for a much more enjoyable reading experience.

The problem is I still love both services. Instapaper for iPad is a universal platform application, a simple interface makes reading simple and as a reader it is brilliantly laid out putting the focus on the article being read rather than the clutter of an application.

Click on an article title to read it in a formatted layout usually without images. You can also easily view the article as it appears on the website on which it is published with a single click. Instapaper is supported with my desktop RSS reader (NetNewsWire).

Instapaper offers a tilt to scroll feature which works really well for reading long articles.

On the other side of the equation is Readitlater, which is a near identical service to Instapaper but with different apps. Readitlater isn’t (yet) supported by as many third party applications (e.g. NetNewsWire) as Instapaper but it has a growing following.

The Readitlater app works in a similar fashion but with a few added bonuses including tags and the ability to view HTML5 video. Again like Instapaper the app is universal so ?2.99 covers the iPhone and iPad apps.

For me the reading digest is the big attraction to Readitlater.There is a fundamental problem with displaying your items in a list.  It’s hard to know where to start, where do you start ?

Looking at your list, you may have an article about technology you wanted to read, a video about kittens you wanted to watch, a link to shoes you wanted to buy or a website for a band your friend told you to check out.  And when you finally get around to reading, you may only be interested in one of those topics.  It’d be a LOT easier if it were better organised.

The digest system is smart enough to know the difference between an article on iPhones and an article about sports.  It takes each article and filters it into the topics you care about automatically. As you can see in the screenshot below I have split my list into Education, Apple, Photography and Entertainment. The digest presents the saved articles almost like a mini newspaper.

I did have a few problems on the photography based articles as many of the photos featured in the articles are removed. I guess the whole idea of “reading” articles later is the focus is on words, thankfully one click and the page loads as if it was on the website although I found this loading slow at times.

As you can see in the screenshot above the application is capable of playing HTML 5 friendly video.

In terms of the desktop experience both Instapaper and Readitlater work in the same way offering bookmarlets for easily saving articles you want to read at a later date.


Frankly  I can’t make up my mind which is the best service to choose. There is no doubt the ReaditLater iPad application works really well and offers more than Instapaper but is more good ? I also have no doubt that Instapaper will release an update to their offering in the months ahead. The fact NetNewsWire supports Instapaper is an issue but it isn’t that difficult to load the article in Safari and add it to Readitlater from there. I’m in two minds and the jury is out.

What do you use and why ?



iPad Apps

Instapaper Pro (?2.99)
ReaditLater Pro (?2.99 + additional digest  charge ?2.99)

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